Talent isn’t the only factor in deciding who’s successful in the NFL. Sometimes, a landing spot can be just as important. Whether it’s via scheme, coaching or path to the football field, some destinations are built to fully maximize the skill sets of draft picks better than others.
These are the 2022 NFL Draft prospects at every position who went to ideal situations.
Howell not only reunites with his former No. 1 option at North Carolina in Dyami Brown but also goes to a quarterback room where he could easily grab the reigns by 2023. Carson Wentz carries cap figures of $26 million and $27 million in 2023 and 2024, respectively, with no dead cap hit if the Commanders were to cut him.
RB: BREECE HALL, NEW YORK JETS
Hall enters the NFL behind a burgeoning offensive line with a very easy path to bell-cow status. 2021 fourth-rounder Michael Carter showed well as a rookie with the Jets, but he will likely be relegated to passing downs at his size. Hall, the first running back off the board, racked up 797 touches in three seasons at Iowa State.
A lot of players would kill to have Patrick Mahomes throwing them footballs with Andy Reid calling plays. Moore walks into the top offense in the NFL over the past three seasons with the most replicable skill set of the Chiefs receivers to Tyreek Hill’s role. That doesn’t mean he will replicate what Hill did, but if there’s anyone you want to scheme touches for there, it’s the FBS leader in broken tackles from a season ago.
Brian Daboll literally just took a mid-round athletic tight end with minimal collegiate production and turned him into a prolific pass-catcher for the Buffalo Bills. There’s a good chance Daboll can work the same magic with Bellinger as he did with Dawson Knox, although Bellinger saw only 101 targets in his three seasons as a starter for San Diego State.
With only Matt Pryor standing between Raimann and the starting left tackle job, there’s a good chance the Colts' first-rounder is running with the ones early next season. Putting him next to All-Pro Quenton Nelson is going to only help him acclimate to the NFL game early on. While he has a little to clean up, it’s not substantial after earning the second-highest grade of any college tackle last season.
While Dante Scarnecchia is no longer the Patriots' offensive line coach, the team's track record of developing offensive linemen lives on. Strange offered as good developmental tools as existed for a versatile interior lineman in the class. His explosiveness will come in hand during New England’s often movement-based run concepts.
Testing-wise, Jurgens was neck and neck with Tyler Linderbaum athletically. He now gets to learn behind the most athletic center in the NFL for the past decade in Jason Kelce. And Jurgens certainly needs that development after posting a 71.4 overall grade last season.
Davis didn’t offer much as a pass-rusher at Georgia, tallying 18 pressures the past two years. When he did flash in that regard, however, it came via the bull rush. He now gets to learn alongside the best bull-rusher of the past decade in Fletcher Cox. Cox may be on the downswing of his career, but he still knows how to walk back offensive linemen.
Karlaftis has an easy path to the field thanks to Kansas City's lack of edge talent in a defense that covets his exact skill set. The comp for Karlaftis from many in the pre-draft process was former New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck because of the inside-outside versatility when rushing the passer. Tuck’s two highest-graded seasons came under now-Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in 2007 and 2008 with the Giants.
From a pure physical tools standpoint, the NFL hasn’t seen a cornerback enter the league as long as Gardner is with his kind of movement skills since Richard Sherman. Sherman was the linchpin to the 2019 San Francisco 49ers defense that represented Robert Saleh’s best in his tenure. It’s clear why they were so eager to select the Cincinnati cornerback who never allowed a touchdown in college at No. 4 overall.
Woods has range for days with high-end ball skills for the position. It’s why he picked off nine passes over the past two seasons. Woods also has some of the worst tackling tape in the class, possessing little physicality in that regard (20.1% missed tackle rate for his career). For that reason, he fell to the third round. He goes to a Brandon Staley defense that famously takes safeties out of run fits and asks them to be coverage players first. It’s a defense that will let him find the ball in the air instead of asking him to find ball-carriers on the ground.